Steelers Considered Justin Houston

The Steelers were in contact with free agent edge rusher Justin Houston as recently as last week (Twitter link via Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports). However, with Melvin Ingram in the fold, the Steelers probably won’t look to add another veteran like Houston to the mix.

[RELATED: Steelers Sign Melvin Ingram]

Houston, one of the most fearsome pass rushers in the league during his heyday with the Chiefs, is coming off of a two-year stint with the Colts. He’s no longer a First Team All-Pro talent, but he was still productive in Indy, averaging 9.5 sacks per year over his two Colts campaigns. Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics assigned him middling grades in both run and pass D, but the 32-year-old would be an asset to most any pass rushing corps.

That list would have included the Steelers, who could have slotted him opposite of two-time All-Pro T.J. Watt. Instead, they chose Ingram, who offers a much stronger resume than the likes of Quincy Roche, youngster Alex Highsmith, and Cassius Marsh.

Houston should be able to land a deal, though the other clubs previously tied to him have also found DE help elsewhere. The Colts snagged Michigan’s Kwity Paye in the first round while the Ravens landed Penn State’s Odafe Oweh. On the other hand, the Ravens might be willing to give Houston a low-cost, one-year deal now that they’re without Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue.

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Steelers To Sign Melvin Ingram

Well, that was fast. Soon after meeting with the Steelers, defensive end Melvin Ingram inked a one-year deal to play in Pittsburgh (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). 

Ingram has had an unexpectedly long stay in free agency, likely due to health concerns. Last year, a knee issue held him to just seven games for the Chargers. But, before that, he notched 49 career sacks en route to three straight Pro Bowls from 2017-19. He had exactly zero sacks in 2020, but Pro Football Focus gave him a solid 76.3 pass-rushing score, good for top-20 among all OLBs/DEs.

Ingram, 32, met with the Dolphins and Chiefs earlier this year, but left both visits without deals. Fortunately for them and other teams in need of edge help, Justin Houston, Everson Griffen, Olivier Vernon, and Bruce Irvin are still on the board.

Now, instead of Joey Bosa, he’ll have two-time All-Pro T.J. Watt as his opposite end counterpart. Beyond those two, the Steelers also have rookie Quincy Roche, youngster Alex Highsmith, and veteran Cassius Marsh in the mix.

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Steelers Host Melvin Ingram

The Steelers are hosting edge rusher Melvin Ingram on a visit today, (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). Ingram, who visited with the Chiefs and Dolphins earlier this year, would help the Steelers fill a lingering mid-summer need.

Ingram is one of several big-name pass rushers left on the board, along with Justin Houston, Everson Griffen, Olivier Vernon, and Bruce Irvin. Like Houston, Ingram is 32 years of age. But, unlike Houston, he comes with some health concerns about his knee. We haven’t heard much about his status, but one has to imagine that he’d be off the board by now if he was 100% healthy.

The longtime Charger earned three consecutive Pro Bowl nods from 2017-19. Last year, however, Ingram was limited to just seven games. In those contests, he failed to record a single sack, though he did manage a 76.3 pass-rushing score from Pro Football Focus in that limited sample. That was good for top-20 status among all NFL edge rushers.

The Steelers have two-time All-Pro T.J. Watt to lead the pack, but former first-round pick Bud Dupree is out of the picture. Beyond him, they’ve got rookie Quincy Roche, youngster Alex Highsmith, and veteran Cassius March on the depth chart.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.